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Commercial Market Assessment for Crew and Cargo Systems Pursuant to Section 403 of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2011

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Section 1.0: Introduction

While NASA's commercial cargo efforts have been underway since 2005, and NASA has been purchasing commercial services for robotic spacecraft launches since 1988, NASA is just beginning its Commercial Crew Program. The primary objective of this program is to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable, and cost effective access to and from LEO and the ISS. Once the capability is matured and available to customers, NASA plans to purchase transportation services to meet its ISS crew rotation and emergency return needs.

NASA plans to follow an alternative business method that allows U.S. industry more design ownership of their space systems and requires those companies to invest private capital to complement Government funds. This is similar to the approach NASA is using for the commercial cargo effort. NASA plans to award competitive, pre-negotiated, milestone-based agreements that support the development, testing, and demonstration of multiple commercial crew systems with a fixed Government investment. NASA also plans to use a unique Government insight/oversight model featuring a core team of sustaining engineering and discipline experts who closely follow the development of the vehicles. Additionally, NASA plans to use tailored human rating requirements, standards, and processes, with NASA providing the final crew transportation system certification.

This strategy is more of a

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